Monday, June 9, 2014

Product Review: Thermoworks TempTest 1

My neighbor and BBQ teammate, John, did such a good review of the Vision kamado grill that I asked him to review the latest offering that I have gotten from Thermoworks - the TempTest 1.  Here is his review:

Chris received this great unit from Thermoworks and since he had just reviewed their new Thermopop and TimeStick he asked if I would give it a workout and note my experience.  Of course I couldn’t resist.

I have been a Thermapen owner ever since I got my Large BGE 3 years ago and have loved it and consider it an essential, even mandatory, tool to own.  This new unit adds some convenient features that my Thermapen lacks such as 

  • a 360 degree auto rotating display that senses the angle you are holding it and adjusts the readout so you can easily see it, 
  • Intelligent backlight that turns on automatically when it senses low light, and 
  • waterproof rated to IP67 standards, huh? (It means that it is protected from any form of dust and can work up to 30 minutes in water at a depth of 15 cm to 1M, about 3 feet. No I did not test this)*
  • it offers a min/max temp feature and a temp hold feature as well.  
The other specs match the original Thermapen including a 3 second reading time.  You can also add on a protective rubber boot as an accessory, similar to a cell phone case to protect the unit should you drop it.  The unit also comes with a traceable NIST calibration certificate.   Suggested MSRP is $105 which is $9 more than the standard Thermapen but $3 lower than the backlight Thermapen.  As of now it comes in any color you want as long as it’s white.

I tested the Temp Test 1 and my 3-year-old Thermapen (with fresh batteries) in boiling water and an ice bath.  I took each measurement 6 times and threw out the low and high times and then averaged the remaining 4 times.

Time to Boil
Boil reading
Time to freeze
Freeze temp
Temp Test 1
3.48 sec
5.52 sec
5.68 sec
5.29 sec

I can’t explain why my Thermapen was a bit over 2 seconds slower to read at boiling (unless I have one of the slower reading colors, ha ha) yet almost a quarter second faster at freezing.  Both are really close to the expected temperature, which made me really happy.  I weighed each unit with batteries installed, of course.  The Temp Test 1 weighed 104g and the Thermapen weighed 94g.  The extra weight of the Temp Test is due to the batteries being AA which weigh more than the 2032 lithium batteries in the Thermapen.

The unit comes supplied with a holster and two attachments that attach the holster to a belt or a fixed object such as a grill table.   

Because the temp probe is exposed this unit can be used one handed, unlike a Thermapen that requires you to unfold the probe with one hand while holding the body in another.  This lets you open the grill with one hand and test the food temperature with the other hand.  I really liked that feature.

Overall I found myself reaching for the Temp Test more than my Thermapen, the one handed operation was key, the backlight another and the rotating display just made it to easy to use.  Is it worth the extra $9 over a stock Thermapen?  Absolutely considering the backlight Thermapen costs $3 more.  Both units are great and mandatory in my opinion for cooks.  Consider this an excellent addition to the Thermoworks family of hand held probes.

Thermoworks TempTest 1 in it's natural environment - within arms reach of a smoker.

Thanks, John, for another great review!

For my $.02 on the TempTest, I am really pleased with it.  I've only gotten to use it last weekend when John, Alexis, and I competed in the Rocky Top BBQ Cook off  where we used it a lot (post upcoming about that event).  I was thinking that the holster was a bit unnecessary until cooking onsite there when I really began to appreciate the quick access and one handed operation.  I also like the Max/Min temp feature, which is useful when testing a bunch of steaks, chops or chicken - you can see the overall range of your internal temps.  This is a commercial quality unit but priced for home use too.  Highly recommended. Two thumbs up from me too! 

*Editors note - I am a bit disappointed that John didn't test this underwater feature, aren't you?  I mean, he could have sealed up his Big Green Egg, attached a blower and hose to supply air, and thrown it in the pool to test out the underwater abilities for us...where is his dedication to a thorough review?  ha ha

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] Neither John nor I are affiliate sellers of Thermoworks nor do we receive compensation from them.  We do occasionally receive free test samples, like this TempTest, from them; however, we both also buy Thermoworks products at full price as well.